North Korea on Sunday fired a short-range ballistic missile toward its eastern seas, Reuters reported citing officials in South Korea and Japan.
The incident comes two days after a United States aircraft arrived in South Korea for a joint military exercise in response to Pyongyang’s growing nuclear threat, according to the Associated Press.
The joint drill, which begins on September 26, will be the first involving a US aircraft carrier in the region since 2017. United States Vice President Kamala Harris is also scheduled to visit South Korea on September 29.
South Korea claimed that the missile was fired at 7 am (3.30 am Indian Standard Time) from near the Teachon province, around 100 kilometres north of Pyongyang, reported the BBC. The missile flew about 600 kilometres at an altitude of 60 kilometres, the military said.
“North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile is an act of grave provocation that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “Our military maintains a full readiness posture and is closely cooperating with the US while strengthening surveillance and vigilance.”
The launch was also confirmed by Japanese authorities, who claimed that the missile flew in on an irregular trajectory and fell outside their country’s exclusive economic zone.
Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said a protest has been launched against North Korea through its embassy in Beijing, reported Reuters.
“North Korea’s action represents a threat to the peace and security of our country,” Hamada said in a statement. “The region and the international community and to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable.”
This is the 19th missile launch by North Korea this year, according to CNN. The country is banned from developing and testing ballistic missiles by several United Nations resolutions.